Dark Blue (15)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner30/06/2003

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 118 mins

Familiar, yet still gripping Training Day-style L.A. cop drama, with a great performance by Kurt Russell – a treat for Ellroy fans.

At first glance, Dark Blue may seem like yet another cliché-laden Corrupt Cop With Rookie Partner ‘Training Day’-type drama. However, it has several elements that raise it above its peers. The film benefits greatly from its setting – it takes place during the crucial run-up to the Rodney King verdict in 1992.

Kurt Russell stars as Eldon Perry, a third generation LAPD sergeant given to shooting first and bending the evidence later. He’s partnered with an Owen Wilson-alike named Bobby (relative newcomer Scott Speedman), who doesn’t seem to have what it takes in the perp-wasting department.

Brutal Slaying

However, when they’re assigned to a brutal supermarket slaying, they discover that police department corruption can come in many forms and it isn’t long before all the peripheral characters are dragged into the plot.

Russell is excellent as Perry and Shelton sets up his character perfectly in the superb opening scenes. It’s an unflinching performance, with Russell not afraid to show Perry’s uglier side –it’s unshowy and in many ways superior to Denzel Washington’s similar, Oscar-grabbing role in Training Day. It’s all the more heartening because it’s hard to remember the last film Russell was truly great in and this shows that he can still cut it.

Shoot A Perp

The weak point, really, is Speedman, who seems ineffectual, to the point where Russell trying to persuade him to shoot a perp and ‘get your first kill’ just looks like bullying. However, the fact that he’s more or less unknown ensures that you’re suitably apprehensive about whether or not he’ll make it to the final reel.

The film is extremely well-directed, especially during the latter sequences when the city explodes as the riots break out – these are genuinely frightening and a definite highlight.

In short, this is well worth seeing, despite the initial familiarity of the plot – the script, direction and Russell’s performance are all first class. Recommended.

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Dark Blue (15)
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Content updated: 21/05/2019 14:23

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